20 homes torched in MILF-MNLF feud

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2012 10:37 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2012 06:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Around 20 homes in the town of Carmen, North Cotabato were burned down amid fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The military is verifying reports that 2 mosques in the area were also torched.

Although tensions between the 2 groups have simmered down, several displaced residents were not yet allowed to return to their homes.

Those who lost their homes in the fire will receive assistance from the local government units in rebuilding their houses.

According to 7th Infantry Battalion Commander Col. Benjamin Hao, they have been directed to restore order in the area.

According to local barangay officials, 176 families have been displaced in Purok 4, 6, 7 and Sitio Mantanaoan of Brgy. Tonganon.

The displaced residents are temporarily seeking shelter at the barangay hall compound and a school.

Some of the evacuees said they were advised by an MNLF commander to flee their homes after the firefight erupted last March 18.

The residents immediately fled due to fear of being caught in between the firefight and were unable to bring with them food, blankets, mosquito nets and other cooking materials.

Brgy. Tonganon Councilor Adelia Laurelia said the LGUs have extended assistance, including rice and canned goods, to the affected families.

"Kelangan nila talaga dito bigas, pagkain at gamot baka magkasakit sila kasi nauulanan ang iba," Laurelia said. -- Report from Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao